By Cross Udo Abuja
The Minister of State for Power, Prince Jeddy Agba has advised the incoming administration to make rural electrification a priority despite the remarkable achievement so far made in the sector.
This Minister also described the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, as a star agency requiring better attention and priority.
Prince Agba stated this while briefing State House correspondents on the efforts so far made to ensure that rural communities across the country enjoy regular power supply.
He said through REA, many communities across the six geopolitical zones have been touched in remarkable ways.
The Minister explained that just as the name of the agency implies, its focus had been on taking power to the remote and rural parts of the country, adding that none of REA projects had been sited in any city.
Agba, who listed various other programmes, including Primary Health Schemes and the Market Improvement Projects, on which the REA had executed its projects, charged that the federal government should take another look at its works and urged the next administration to treat it as a star agency.
According to him, “I just want to say to you that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is my star agency, it’s directly under my supervision and purview. I want to assure you that in all the six geopolitical zones of this country, we have had two projects each in any of the states, there’s no community in any of the geopolitical zones where we don’t have a rural solar light intervention. We’ve had solar panels, we have mini-grids and all of that in all the zones.
“For me, that agency is a star agency, it is a high-performing agency. I don’t talk about individuals, I’m talking about the agency itself and the outputs. All of us in this room today come from communities, we are from different states here, but if you name your state, I will tell you which local government and which community we have projects in.
“We have the continuing education project, we have the Primary Healthcare Schemes. We have the Market Improvement Projects, we have all of the schemes to do with rural electrification in the communities, we didn’t do anything in cities, it’s all rural. So if we have done these well, I think the agency needs commendation, I think you need to know that this agency is a star agency.
“We should work on it, we should look at it. You can do your own investigations and find out what has been done, what is yet to be done and there’s more to be done by the coming administration. But I want to assure you that the agency itself has performed satisfactorily by my judgment. Your judgment may be superior to mine, but I think it’s a star agency and it’s an agency to watch very closely”, he said.
Asked how much had been expended on the projects of the agency so far, Agba said “No, I cannot tell you offhand how much has been spent because there are different funding. There’s funding from the World Bank, there’s funding from the federal government, there’s funding from agencies that have to do with these things”.